Shabbat Shalom from Mitzpe Ramon

ramahridehikeSouthern Israel Trip 2019

Video | Friday, April 5 | As of today, our 2019 riders and hikers have raised over $515,000 to support Ramah Tikvah programs!

It’s the end of Day 3, and as Shabbat approaches, our riders and hikers have all checked in safely from today’s variety of routes and challenges.

Riders chose among various options. Some elected to go on a 6:15 a.m. sunrise ride in the (very!) cool morning desert air, returning for breakfast and to meet up with the rest of our riders. One of the riders commented on the the colors of the landscape, which seemed more intense in the early morning light, different from how they appear in the bright sun.

After breakfast, most of our riders cycled north from our hotel to Kibbutz Sde Boker, the home of Israel’s founding Prime Minister David Ben Gurion overlooking the magnificent Zin Valley. A smaller group of riders switched to mountain bikes after breakfast and headed out for an off-road ride on the Halukim single track trail, deep in the desert. The consensus was that the mountain biking was challenging and thrilling–an exciting complement to road biking. As Joyce Braun-Stoner said, “What could be better? Road biking in the early morning, mountain biking in the afternoon; amazing riding, amazing people, amazing landscape. Just amazing!”

The Sollelim group’s hike along the ridge of Makhtesh Ramon was exhilarating, bringing a sense of awe to all of us. Just two hours from major urban centers, we are completely surrounded by desert and soaring cliffs. It’s no wonder that, in this place of deep spirituality, our ancestors received the Torah. According to Scott Miller, “I’ve been here before, but it’s impossible to get jaded. It’s just as breathtaking now as the first time I was here.”

Tzofim hikers made their way through a trail filled with colorful wildflowers towards Har Hagamal (“Camel Mountain”) at the edge of the makhtesh. Along the way, they saw ibex, a species of wild goats that inhabits the mountains in this region, along with horseback riders navigating the cliffs and terraces. Sheila Yossem remarked on the feeling of peace and tranquility that overwhelmed her as she looked out on the vast desert landscape.

Our entire group of 112 hikers, riders, and volunteers met up for a delicious lunch in Mitzpe Ramon, and now it is time to prepare for Shabbat. Along with some friends and family, we will come together as a community for rest and reflection.

After dinner tonight, we will have a panel discussion about Tikvah. This way, everyone who has worked so hard to raise funds for campers with disabilities can learn more about our programs, and hear about their impact from camp leaders and parents of participants in our Tikvah programs.

Shabbat will give us all an opportunity to restore our bodies and nurture our souls, ready to continue the adventure as we travel southward to Israel’s southernmost city, Eilat, on Sunday and Monday.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov from Mitzpe Ramon.